The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) received a report indicating that an individual claiming to be an attorney named Chris Matthews sent an email to a Washington consumer threatening legal and criminal action related to an unpaid payday loan. The email contained the consumer’s social security number, a case file number, and attachments which appeared to be court documents and an arrest warrant.
The email also included the following contact information:
Phone: (817) 606-8726
American Cash Advance is not licensed by DFI or registered to conduct business in Washington State by the Department of Licensing, the Department of Revenue, or the Secretary of State.
The “Chris Matthews” referenced in this Consumer Alert should not be confused with Christopher Matthews, an attorney licensed in California.
Washington residents are advised that state law provides in RCW 31.45.105(1)(d) and (3) that a small loan made by an unlicensed entity to a person physically located in Washington is uncollectible and unenforceable in Washington State.
DFI strongly recommends that consumers deal only with those lenders that are properly licensed to conduct business. Consumers can determine whether lenders are properly licensed using the “Verify a License” feature on the DFI’s website at www.dfi.wa.gov.
Payday Loan Debt Collection Laws
Collection activities are subject to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Therefore, if you have questions regarding debt collection laws please contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC HELP, or online at www.ftc.gov(link is external).
Debt collectors cannot state or imply that failure to pay a debt is a crime. They cannot call before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. They cannot harass or abuse consumers, or contact consumers’ places of employment.
Washington State residents, if you are suspicious of unlicensed activity by a payday lender please contact the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions at 1-877-RING-DFI (746-4334), or online at www.dfi.wa.gov.
If you live in another state, find your state regulator(link is external).
If you feel you have been the victim of a loan scam please contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357) or online at www.ftc.gov(link is external); or contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (855) 411-CFPB or online atwww.consumerfinance.gov(link is external). Because the scammers have access to bank account information and social security numbers, victims should consider themselves victims of identity theft and take appropriate precautions. The Federal Trade Commission has information for victims of identity theft available online at www.ftc.gov(link is external).
If you feel you have been the victim of a loan scam involving the Internet please contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center online at www.ic3.gov(link is external).
If you feel you have been the victim of a loan scam and are concerned about your personal financial information, contact your banking institution, and the three major credit bureaus.